Nuts and dried fruit are among the key food products in the diets of people living healthy. Dried fruit and nuts are consumed separately and are added to other products as ingredients; a number of oils actively used in cooking and medicine are extracted from nuts.
There are around 80 nut varieties – the most well-known ones include walnuts, hazelnuts, cashews, pistachios, pine nuts and Brazil nuts. Contrary to popular belief, almonds and peanuts are not actual nuts: almonds are drupes, whereas peanuts are legumes.
While providing a number of health benefits, nuts and dried fruit are high in calories – depending on the specific type, the energy content of dried fruit varies from 200 to 400 kcal per 100 grams, whereas nuts contain 500 to 700 kcal per 100 grams. In the 1980s it was believed that consumption of these goods should be strictly limited – however, during the past decade they have regained their popularity, and nowadays most dietitians recommend them as snacks (up to 30 grams per day).
Growing nuts and fruit requires a favorable climate fitting for the specific plant variety. At the moment, nuts cultivated in Russia include hazelnuts, walnuts and pine nuts.
89% of the Russian nut market is currently occupied by imported goods, which could not possibly be substituted locally. Since 2014, Russia had to look for new suppliers – namely Chile and China. Before that, the largest share of the market used to fall on products from the USA, Spain, and Ukraine; however, political factors led to imports from these countries being banned and terminated. Given the situation, prices for nuts and dried fruit have risen by 68% and the volume of consumption has dropped by 26% since 2014, when the volume of imports declined. As nuts and dried fruit are not among necessity goods, the population decreased their consumption and switched to cheaper products, namely peanuts.
In 2016, the Russians adapted to the new economic conditions, and the market began to recover. Among other factors, the health and wellness trend made its contribution to growth in demand for nuts and dried fruit. More and more often, consumers have been replacing the usual snacks with mixed nuts as well as purchasing considerable amounts of nuts and dried fruit in online stores specializing in healthy nutrition.
In 2017, the volume of nut and dried fruit consumption in the country was estimated at 97 thousand tonnes, which was 5% higher than in 2016. Further market growth and an increase in consumption to 98 thousand tonnes are expected in 2018.
Companies operating in the Russian market for nuts and dried fruit can be divided into 3 main categories:
* manufacturers growing and selling processed nuts (cleaned, roasted and packaged);
* manufacturers growing nuts and selling them for further processing;
* packaging companies, mainly using imported produce.
The following three largest players traditionally stand out among Russian producers of packaged goods: “Moskovskaya Orekhovaya Kompaniya (Moscow Nut Company)” LLC, “Good-Food” Group, and “Orekhprom” LLC (Krasnodar).
“Good-Food”, represented by “Good Food”, “Nutberry”, “Orekhovka Malinovka” and “Fusion” trademarks, occupies a large share in the market for packaged nuts and dried fruit.
Major manufacturers include “Moskovskaya Orekhovaya Kompaniya” (“Dary Prirody (Gifts of Nature)” and “Dzhaz (Jazz)” trademarks), and “Orekhprom” (“Zolotaya Zhmen’ka (Golden Handful)”, “YEM! (I Eat!)”, “Russkie Tropiki (Russian Tropics)”, and “Tverdy Znak (Hard Sign)” trademarks). “Semushka (Seed)” LLC, “Nika” LLC, and “Tomas Green” LLC (Moscow) are also to be highlighted as successful market players.
The instability of the nuts and dried fruit market drives a number of companies to expand their product range, covering industries which are not as prone to fluctuations. For instance, apart from their main product categories, “Moskovskaya Orekhovaya Kompaniya” and “Good-Food” sell confections.
Among various culinary nuts, walnuts are the most popular among consumers, followed by hazelnuts and cashews. Pistachios are also popular, consumed as beer snacks, although in crisis they have been increasingly replaced with peanuts. In the segment of dried fruit, raisins and dried apricots are the leaders. Demand for these two products is not only explained by fairly low prices compared with other goods in the segment, but also by how frequently they are used in cooking.
During the past 3–4 years, against the decline in real disposable household incomes, consumers have begun giving preference to mixed nuts, consisting of various nut varieties and dried fruit. This is due to the fact that said products are cheaper and come in convenient packaging suitable for consumption on the go.
Average retail prices for dried fruit and nuts increased by a factor of 1.5 in 2014 and are remaining at the level of around 450 rubles per kilogram – in the first half of 2018, the average price equaled 442 rubles per kilogram.
At the same time, it is worth noting that the segment of dried fruit is 80% cheaper than the segment of nuts – the average retail price for dried fruit amounted to 312 rubles per kilogram in the first half of 2018, whereas nuts scored as high as 571.8 rubles per kilogram.
Prices for nuts and dried fruit largely depend upon the product type itself, the processing method and the producing country.
Over the past 5 years, numerous companies have been entering the market and subsequently stopping their operation as a result of the instability of the latter.
In the medium term, the volume of nut and dried fruit consumption in the Russian market is expected to grow at 1–2% annually as a result of increasing demand for natural and “healthy” goods.
It is important to note that the state of the industry and its development in the CIS countries may affect the Russian market. Following growth in prices for imported products, a number of companies from the CIS countries with climatic conditions suitable for nut cultivation appeared determined to occupy the promising vacant niche in the market of the Russian Federation (e.g. companies from Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan), in particular through setting up experimental nut orchards.
However, certain nut and fruit varieties do not grow in Russia and the CIS, which makes the local market dependent on imported supplies from other countries as well as on currency exchange rates and political relations with supplying countries.
With the aforementioned factors taken into account, it is expected that by 2025 the total volume of nut and dried fruit consumption in Russia will have reached 110.4 thousand tonnes, exceeding the level of 2017 by 14%.